What is Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a term describing skin inflammation; however, dermatitis can have many different appearances and be caused by many conditions. For instance, atopic dermatitis (eczema) causes skin to itch and break out in a rash. It usually appears on arms, hands, and behind the knees; and, it tends to run in families and is more common with asthma or hay fever sufferers.

Seborrheic dermatitis is also common and can cause red and scaly patches of skin, especially on the back, face, chest, and scalp (known as dandruff). This condition can be caused by drier climates, hereditary predisposition, stress levels, and poor overall health.

Many external substances, such as nickel and poison ivy, can cause a condition called allergic contact dermatitis. Other examples of dermatitis include irritant dermatitis, nummular eczema, lichen simplex chronicus, dyshidrotic eczema, stasis dermatitis, and the like.

What are the Symptoms of Dermatitis?

Dermatitis can cause itchy, swollen, reddened, crusty skin. More serious cases of dermatitis can cause the skin to thicken, flake off, blister, and even ooze.

Dermatitis Causes

The causes of skin dermatitis vary depending on the particular type of dermatitis that a patient has.

In the case of contact dermatitis, it occurs when a person comes in direct contact with an allergen or irritant. Some people tend to experience allergic reactions due to oak, cleaning products, poison ivy, cosmetics, nickel, and some detergents. It can be difficult to know the exact cause of this dermatitis because numerous things can cause it.

Also referred to as eczema, atopic dermatitis is a type of dermatitis. It’s usually caused by a combination of factors, such as bacteria, a poor immune system, gene variation, environmental setting, and dry skin. In most cases, atopic dermatitis is genetic, as most patients usually have a family history of this condition.

Another type of dermatitis is known as seborrheic dermatitis. It’s commonly caused by the presence of yeast or fungus in the oil secretion on your skin. This condition can be recurrent, depending on the person. It tends to worsen during the winter and spring.

How is Dermatitis Treated?

Even though some dermatitis treatments are similar, narrowing down what kind of dermatitis a patient has is imperative to properly cure the condition. For instance, those with crusted scabies may assume they have either seborrhoeic dermatitis or psoriasis and not get the necessary anti-parasite medications they need.

If a person has atopic dermatitis, he or she may need to avoid heavily-scented soaps and opt for hypoallergenic options. A doctor may prescribe topical steroids, cream, or ointment. At-home remedies like oatmeal baths are also recommended since they can moisturize and reduce itching.

If a person has seborrheic dermatitis, moisturizer, medicated shampoos, and aloe are good at-home remedies. A doctor can also prescribe steroidal, anti-inflammatory, or immunosupressive medications.

Sunscreen should be worn every day since it can help already inflamed skin from becoming irritated and burned. Cold compresses can soothe skin and lanolin can help heal cracked skin.

Dermatitis Prevention

The ideal way of preventing dermatitis is to avoid direct contact with irritants and allergens that are likely to cause it. If you unknowingly come in contact with any of the allergens, wash the affected area with an emollient and warm water as soon as possible. Always use gloves when handling cosmetics and cleaning products.

You can also change products that affect you. Plus, it helps to know the specific ingredients that you’re allergic to. This way, you can easily eliminate all products that contain those ingredients. Try to prevent dry skin by using warm instead of hot water, using mild soaps, and taking shorter baths. Using moisturizers can also help to prevent it.

If you can’t prevent your dermatitis, avoid flaring up symptoms by not scratching the affected skin. Scratching can open the skin, allowing bacteria to move around freely.